Another Time To Kilian

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Caleb Kilian (CHC) vs STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 83 pitches.

It was an exciting day for Cubs fans on Saturday as Caleb Kilian made his MLB debut against the Cardinals. The end result? Pretty solid for your first time on the big stage — 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 83 pitches — and I had fun watching him showcase his ability across 83 pitches. He sat 91-97 on a power sinker, nestling around 93 mph after an explosive first with a tight cutter and a big curveball. Do I think he’ll be a strong asset to the Chicago rotation? Absolutely. He’s made to earn outs with that sinker inside to right-handers and cutters away. Do I think he’s worth your attention in 12-teamers when he comes up for good? Probably not. (Kilian was needed for the doubleheader.)

His command was a bit wonky here and that sinker, while a good offering, isn’t the kind of heater like George Kirby that will catalyze a major strikeout game. It’ll earn its handful of whiffs more than the average sinker, but it’s not that kind of fastball. Meanwhile, the cutter is the equivalent as it’s not your borderline-slider cutter. It’s a cutter and it’ll have its moments, but not as a major plus offering in my book. His curveball was rarely turned to and while it has solid shape to it — I saw a few that impressed me — it wasn’t consistent and doesn’t seem to be the kind of secondary pitch we’re looking for.

It adds up to a guy who will have his nights but isn’t a pitcher who I’d anticipate pushing the needle in a major way. When he does get regular turns in the rotation this year, Kilian is likely to have many games destroying your WHIP with his shaky command (and that’s weighing in expected jitters) mixed with the starts where he looks brilliant on the hill. That’s my early assessment and I’m curious how it pans out when he gets a true chance (likely) later this year.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Zach Davies (ARI) @ PIT (ND) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.

He had his changeup and the Pirates were the Pirates. And I still wouldn’t trust this a second time. He heads to Cincinnati next and that’s still a nooooope to me — it would be awfully rude to host a Birthday Party two weeks in a row. Davies, the world doesn’t revolve around you, we have other people we need to see.

Drew Rasmussen (TB) vs CWS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.

I’ll take the old Rasmussen over the new that favors strikeouts over ratios. I was shocked to see seven frames…until I saw the pitch count at 81. Those Rays and their “pitch quality” metrics. We’ll likely see the whiffs show up here and there somewhat through the year, but don’t expect it.

Luis Severino (NYY) vs DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 92 pitches.

Say whaaaaaaaat. Severino’s slider has ARRIVED — 8/24 whiffs with a 58% CSW is everything I’ve dreamed of all year as he sat 96/97 mph, even touching 99 mph. And next start he gets the Cubs? Amazing.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 100 pitches.

Pivetta did it again, even it was just the Athletics. I still have my hesitations toward Pivetta as a season-long reliable starter, but you’re obviously still riding this as he goes against the not-so-hot Angels.

MacKenzie Gore (SD) @ MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 108 pitches.

Atta boy Gore. The four-seamer overwhelmed inside the zone as the curveball took the lead with 19/26 strikes from the rest of the arsenal. Nothing but love here and with Rockie Roadit should keep being strong for your teams.

Roansy Contreras (PIT) vs ARI (ND) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.

This “stream” worked as I’m still shocked he’s so under rostered, especially with this start on the docket. His slider was insane here with 10/32 whiffs and beautiful spotted down-and-armside. You love to see it and I hope it sticks. Now it gets a bit harder with Atlanta next, but they do struggle a little bit against right-handers and I think I’d still do it.

Dylan Cease (CWS) @ TB (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 7 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

Seven walks lol. The curve was nowhere to be found and I wouldn’t say this was a product of his heater and slider being terrible, he just couldn’t get them in the zone when he wanted them to. Just one of those days.

Kris Bubic (KC) vs HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 98 pitches.

Bubic returned and didn’t fall on his face despite his best efforts to do just that. You don’t need me to tell you that this Dusty Donut should not be eaten.

Luis Garcia (HOU) @ KC (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 91 pitches.

Once again it was four-seamer and cutter with a sprinkle of curve/change/slider and I’m still left wanting more, even if those ratios are glorious (thanks Royals!). I think I need to simply accept that Garcia isn’t going to flirt with a 25% strikeout rate the rest of the way, making him a…Toby?! Maybe?! I don’t know, he’s one of those guys I really don’t know how to assess as it’s worked well enough, but I really don’t think what he’s doing is a ticket to blistering success. It just feels so fragile. But whatever, it’s Miami next. Start him there, of course.

Matt Swarmer (CHC) vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

That’s another strong outing for Swarmer, but I don’t think I’d pick him up. His heater is awfully mediocre sub 90 mph + he’ll get the Yankees next in a week. I don’t think he’s worth it to stash past that start, even if he went 13/44 whiffs on the slide piece.

Kyle Freeland (COL) vs ATL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

Wow, can’t say any of us expected this to happen in Coors. It’s a Birthday Partynothing more. Batted balls found gloves and you can’t bet on that repeating.

Andre Pallante (STL) @ CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 64 pitches.

This AP test didn’t give him the credit he needed. He sat 95/96 mph with wonky command and not a whole much else. Welcome to a doubleheader spot start.

Spencer Strider (ATL) @ COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.

Ehhhhhh, the biggest positive I’ve seen from Strider this year has been the 70% strike rate on his four-seamer, which fell to sub 55% levels in this one. The slider didn’t help either hovering at a 50% clip and there’s your outing. He was as effectively wild as it gets and for a man only allowing 1 ER in four frames, that isn’t so bad, right? The best news here is the high pitch count at 87 that makes his next start against the Pirates oh-so-tantalizing. You want that.

David Peterson (NYM) @ LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

Ummmm, okay? The slider was better from Peterson but that’s not enough for me to throw him out there against the other Los Angeles next time.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m not loving the WHIP always being slightly higher than you want, but the strikeouts are here and my (ty)lord his four-seamer command was SILLY. Seriously look at this precision. Incredible.

José Berríos (TOR) vs MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 13 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 90 pitches.

HE IS THE GREAT UNDULATOR. I can’t say I expected him to earn a King Cole and fan thirteen in a game, but those who have stuck it out were rewarded like attending the right Oprah recording. Do I believe this is who he is moving forward? Nah, but I think there’s a decent chance he doesn’t revert back to his former self now…or maybe this is in fact a DennisI sure hope not. He gets the Tigers next and I’d be so happy to see this carry over once again.

Beau Brieske (DET) @ NYY (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 83 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! It feels like a Birthday Party more than a legit start to latch onto and with the Jays next, you can call him faux Brieske if you like. But at least you know he can do well moving forward.

Glenn Otto (TEX) vs SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 95 pitches.

He survived but this sure doesn’t inspire confidence moving forward. I think I’d still avoid the ChiSox next given how hittable his sinker is.

Tyler Wells (BAL) vs CLE (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 62 pitches.

I’ll take the most ignored start of Saturday for $400. Just look at it and wonder HAISTBMBWT?!

Marco Gonzales (SEA) @ TEX (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Yeah, you’ll absolutely take this as Marco has distanced himself from that weird start against the Athletics. His changeup and cutter command was pristine as he avoided the heart of the plate with all his pitches. Do you have the brass to start him against the Red Sox now? I have so much anxiety simply thinking of that decision and I don’t even have him rostered anywhere. Good luck.

Tyler Mahle (CIN) vs WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 104 pitches.

VPQS at home? Ehhhhh at least the four-seamer was working well, sadly the slider and splitter are still so dang rough — those 12 whiffs between them in his previous start were very clearly not a thing to trust. He hosts the Diamondbacks next and I imagine his heater should be enough for that.

Johan Oviedo (STL) @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.

I still wonder if there’s a day Johan gets it all together — it was a 42% CSW slider after all, but his 96 mph heater wasn’t commanded well and there ain’t a whole lot else. Don’t mess with the Johan.

Pablo López (MIA) vs SF (ND) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 110 pitches.

He ran into trouble in the fourth, uncharacteristically walking a pair, sandwiched by a pair of doubles. Weird. Keep starting the man.

Aaron Ashby (MIL) vs SD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ashby pitched well with the ERA going south in the fifth frame after two singles and a blast. I still think there’s some slight room for growth with precision across his arsenal, which may not fully come to light until next season. And that’s fine, Ashby should still be rostered on all 12-teamers moving forward, obviously.

Logan Webb (SF) @ MIA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

Blegh. Despite it looking better recently, the slider was the issue once again, earning just 3/32 whiffs as he struggled to get bites off the plate, but the fifth inning is where he got Singled Out for all four runs. Such is life. He gets the Dodgers next and I’d still start him there. He’ll help more than hurt.

Erick Fedde (WSH) @ CIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes.

Paul Blackburn (OAK) vs BOS (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 73 pitches.

The wheels are starting to fall off this Tobybut can you really blame him? The Red Sox are generally not a team you start a guy like Blackburn against as Paul simply doesn’t have the stuff that demands a spot in your lineup regardless of opponent. But hey, now he gets the Guardians and you can give him a back rub and nudge him forward into your 8th P slot of your roster.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) @ BAL (L) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 86 pitches.

Blegh. McKenzie had been cruising and a start against the Orioles seemed like a slam dunk. I don’t think he pitched as poorly as the line suggests, but his heater was just a bit off in this one, missing the zone more than usual, while he spiked a bunch of breakers. Don’t worry, it’s the Athletics next. He’s not broken or anything.

Dylan Bundy (MIN) @ TOR (L) – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 67 pitches.

Just 16% slider usage, but likely a product of the pitch simply not being good at all. There goes any sort of hope we had.

Michael Lorenzen (LAA) @ PHI (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.

Ouch. He struggled to get strikes on the changeup, and his heater fell into the zone far too often, but at least the slider and some elevated four-seamers allowed you to salvage nine strikeouts from it. The Mets are next and that might  be one to avoid — starts like these are not out of character…except on the strikeout side. Don’t expect close to nine again any time soon.

Walker Buehler (LAD) vs NYM (L) – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 65 pitches.

Jeeeeeeeeez when will it end? His four-seamer is still so much worse than it was in the past and his secondaries aren’t doing enough to make up the difference. I don’t have a choice but to lower him so more on Monday and I hope I regret that in the coming weeks. I know I’m generally slow to accept Top 30 pitchers falling outside of it as the season progresses, simply because they are there for track record and generally these guys recover with time (look at Cole, Sandy, Wheeler, Castillo, Berríos [maybe], Fried, etc.) but I’m going to have to take a hard look at The List and figure out where he should land. It may be outside the Top 20 and I take no joy in this.


Game of the Day 

Mike Clevinger vs. Eric Lauer – Clevinger is returning from the IL and I’ll always stop to watch Lauer pitch.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

2 responses to “Another Time To Kilian”

  1. Jack says:

    I’m sad I dropped Roansy for Grayson. But I’m not the one with a horribly timed injury (what injury isn’t?) so I guess I’ll be okay.

  2. Johnny says:

    Have an offer of trading away Gore & Gilbert for Woodruff – what are your thoughts on that trade?

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